Christmas tree retailer ChristmasTrees.co.uk warns of a potential shortage of Christmas trees this year.
— new import regulations have made importing trees into the UK more difficult which will likely give rise to a shortage of UK grown trees
— a tricky labour market is also affecting Christmas trees – it is harder than ever to find the labour needed to look after and harvest trees
— Raw material prices have soared – which includes wood for pallets, labour, fertiliser, labels, transport.
According to The British Christmas Tree Growers Association between 8 and 10 million real Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year.
It is estimated that the UK usually imports between 1 million and 3 million Christmas trees of these each year from countries elsewhere in Europe.
Mark Rofe who owns the online Christmas tree retailer Christmastrees.co.uk said “We’ve spoken to our UK growers and they are all facing the same challenges.
They are seeing an increase in demand for their product, especially from clients who would usually import their trees from Europe, but are keen to avoid any red-tape that could increase costs or cause delays for what is of course a highly seasonal and time sensitive business.”
Commenting on the labour market Mark Rofe said “Our main grower supplies the market with 100,000 Christmas trees each year and employs between 50 and 70 workers during the peak of the season.
In previous years they were reliant on foresters, mostly from Eastern Europe who would come over for the harvest and then would return to their home country afterwards, but since the Brexit transition they just aren’t able to come over to work now.
They have found it a real challenge to cover their workforce with local labour.”
Increase in Cost of Raw Materials
When it comes to raw materials for maintaining, harvesting, and transporting Christmas trees our growers have seen the following increases.
Labour — + 10%
Fertilizer — + 100%
Wood for pallet uprights — increase of 100%
Pallets — increase of 50%
Labels — increase of 15%
Netting — increase of 15%
Transport — increase of between 20% and 60%
Christmas tree stands — increase of 25%
While haulage costs have increased, there’s also a real nervousness about the ability to actually obtain lorries, one supplier said “It’s crazy, haulage is up 20% to 60%, and we don’t even know if we will get them”.
It’s going to be more challenging to get hold of a real Christmas tree this festive season, however if you are able to get one, you can expect to be paying more than you would have in previous years. Wholesale prices have increased between 5% and 10%.
With Christmas trees taking an average of 10 years to grow, it’s not a case of simply just cutting more trees, especially when you don’t have the labour to harvest them, or the haulage to transport them to London and nationwide.
Buying a Christmas tree can be one of the most exciting parts of the festive season – they’re so much fun to decorate, and they’re a sign that Christmas Day is just around the corner!
However, when you’re shopping for real trees, it can be hard to know which variety is the right one for you. Your living space, family members, and holiday traditions can all affect your tree requirements. If you’re feeling unsure, this little guide will take you through everything you need to know, so that you’re sure to find the perfect real Christmas tree for you!
Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree
To make your choice easier, here are some of our favourite real Christmas trees, and why they might be the one for you!
The Nordmann Fir is one of the nation’s most favourite tree varieties, and it’s easy to see why! Its main advantage is its excellent needle retention, making it perfect for those who love to put their tree up early.
It’s also a great idea if you’ve got pets or children. No one wants to worry about stray needles, so a variety with excellent needle retention is guaranteed to help keep your Christmas stress-free!
A Nordmann Fir Christmas tree will stay fresh and luscious all season long, and you’ll spend less time cleaning up after it, too! Our Nordmann Fir is sure to stay in great condition, and it’s sustainably grown in the UK, too.
The Norway Spruce is the ultimate traditional tree, and is sure to bring back treasured memories of childhood Christmas celebrations! A favourite of Prince Albert, its dark green needles and classic silhouette guarantee a picture-perfect Christmastime.
The Norway Spruce is also an ideal choice for those who want that authentic Christmas tree scent. Its rich aroma will last all December long, and is sure to get you in the mood for festive celebrations, too!
Our Norway Spruce Christmas trees are expertly hand-cultivated and pruned, to ensure a high quality plant every time!
As a more compact option, a Fraser Fir is the perfect way to bring some Christmas grandeur to even the smallest of spaces! Its symmetrical, conical silhouette makes it a perfect choice for smaller rooms, or tucking away into a corner!
The tree also boasts a beautiful blue green colour, with very little needle drop and a classic Christmas tree scent. It’s certainly a great all-rounder, and comes in a range of sizes, too!
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not consider a Korean Fir? It has a beautiful variegated colouration of deep greens and silvery blues, and even comes with delicate indigo pine cones growing on its branches!
Whilst a Korean Fir is certainly unique, its delicious pine scent still gives a traditional Christmas feel. It’s also an excellent selection for those looking for a cut tree that will hold on to its needles all throughout December, so it’s sure to be a beautiful addition to your home!
Pot Grown Trees
You may be concerned about the impact of real Christmas trees on the environment. Fortunately, our hand-cultivated trees are ethically and sustainably sourced, and have a far lower environmental impact than artificial trees.
Our Pot-Grown trees are some of the most eco-friendly, as they’re grown in the same pot they’re sold in, which preserves the root system and allows them to be re-planted once the festive season has passed! We grow potted trees in 3 different varieties, so it’s easy to choose your favourite.
Our best overall pick has to be the Fraser Fir. With longlasting needles, a beautiful festive aroma, and unique colouration, it’s sure to bring something special to your festive celebrations!
Everyone has their own Christmas tree traditions, from favourite decorations, to where the tree should go in the house – and just when to put it up is no exception!
Some people prefer to stay as close to Christmas Day as possible, whereas others love to get festive as early as November! Traditionally, trees would be decorated on Christmas Eve, which might seem a little late, but at least it guarantees your tree is still looking fresh on the big day itself!
Whilst having a real tree can truly bring some extra magic to your festive celebrations, many people worry that they won’t be able to last the weeks leading up to Christmas. With so much conflicting advice, it can be hard to know when is the right time to put up your tree! If you’re feeling unsure, this little guide will take you through everything you need to know, to ensure your tree is still looking luscious come Christmas Day.
Putting Up Your Christmas Tree
Deciding to put up your Christmas tree as early as November can certainly get you in the festive spirit, but it might be best for those who prefer artificial trees.
Like all plants, Christmas trees will begin to wilt a certain amount of time after being cut. There are some great ways to help keep your tree fresher for longer, but no one wants a tree that has lost all of its needles before the big day!
Traditional approaches to putting up your Christmas tree and decorations may seem far too late in the month, but there’s actually a reason behind waiting as long as possible!
When Christmas trees first came into use in the Victorian era, many people chose to wait, to ensure that their Christmas decorations would be as beautiful as possible for Christmas Day.
Most families either chose to either put their tree up 12 days before Christmas (13th December) or on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
However, since the creation of artificial trees, and newer varieties of real Christmas trees that last longer, people have been putting up their Christmas trees much earlier.
Advent is an important date in the Christian calendar, and marks the weeks before the birth of Jesus, it starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This year the start of Advent falls on the 28th November, so following Christian tradition this is the date you would put up your Christmas tree.
Truthfully, you can put up your Christmas tree whenever you would like, other popular dates are the 1st December and the first saturday of December.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you, different types of Christmas trees will last longer than others, but try not to go any earlier than December 1st, to ensure your Christmas tree is as fresh as possible throughout the entire festive season.
How can I keep my Christmas trees fresher for longer?
Once you’ve put up your tree, there are a few handy ways to keep it looking freshly cut all December long!
The main factor is moisture. As soon as you get your tree home, you need to put the trunk in some water. This way, your tree will be able to keep circulating nutrients, which will prevent needle loss and drooping. Keep in mind that trees need a lot of water, so it’s important to keep refilling your tree stand often.
Another thing to remember is that trees don’t like extreme temperatures. Everyone loves a cosy home at Christmas, but try to keep your tree away from hot radiators or draughty windows if possible! Keeping your trees at a constant, moderate temperature will ensure that they don’t start to droop too soon!
Putting up your Christmas tree is incredibly exciting – but taking it back down again can be a bit of a sad affair. We all want to prolong the Christmas magic as long as possible – which includes delaying taking down the tree!
Interestingly, there’s a lot of history behind when we put up and take down our Christmas trees, and a lot of families have their own traditions. Many people tend to take decorations down when their real tree begins to wilt, but others tend to be a bit stricter, in order to avoid ill fortune for the new year.
If you’re unsure on just when to take down your tree, then this little guide will help you to make the best decision. With advice on interesting traditions, and how to avoid any bad luck, taking your Christmas tree down will be effortless.
Taking Down Your Christmas Tree
It can be tricky to find the right time to take your Christmas tree down, especially if you’re not ready to let go of the festive season. Here are a few common traditions, to help you pick the best date for you.
Everyone has heard of the 12 days of Christmas – but these actually begin on the big day itself, and end around the 5th of January each year. When Christmas trees first came into use, many people wouldn’t actually put up their Christmas tree and decorations until December 24th – in time for the first day of Christmas the following day.
Whilst we usually think of the 3 wise men visiting the baby Jesus on that first day, they actually arrived on the Twelfth Night of Christmas. Many families try to have their Christmas decorations taken down by day 12, due to fears it could bring ill fortune to leave them up any longer!
Two Weeks After Christmas
Similar to the Twelfth Night tradition, several families choose to put away their decorations once two weeks have passed since the 25th. Many do this to avoid affecting their luck for the new year, but it’s also just a good time to tidy away anything festive. By the time two weeks have passed since Christmas Day, it’s usually approaching mid January, which is a great point to start focusing on the exciting new year ahead!
When Your Tree Starts to Wilt
If you prefer having real trees in your home, they can be a good indicator of when it’s time to pack away your decorations. With the right care and attention, real trees can last for weeks in good condition. However, when they start to dry out and lose needles, they won’t look as attractive, and it can be a sign to clear away the Christmas ornaments!
It’s also important to keep in mind that an older, dried out tree can actually be a fire hazard. For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your tree once Christmas has passed, and correctly dispose of it once it has wilted.
Ultimately, when to put your tree away is up to you. Whether you’re looking to avoid misfortune, or simply want a convenient time to clear up, it’s best to pick a date that works for you and your family. Once Twelfth Night has passed, there’s only 355 days until you’ll need to have everything back up again, anyway!
Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your Christmas tree up for longer.
It’s an iconic symbol that we all know and love. For some, a pine, spruce, or fir tree is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Christmas, as well as a mug of mulled wine or a church service on Christmas eve!
But just where did Christmas trees come from?
Well, that’s what we’ll be tackling today! In this article, we’ll give you a concise history of the Christmas tree – from pagans to pine needles. Celebrated and loved across the world in winter festivals, with many countries having their own national Christmas tree, these iconic symbols have a wealth of symbolism behind them.
So, if you’re a history buff, or you just want to know the foundation of your fir trees, read on!
The Symbolism of Christmas Trees
For hundreds – and even thousands – of years, trees have been decorated and used in winter celebrations. For example, in Ancient Egypt, the winter solstice would forever be marked by the decoration of palms at the Temples of Ra, the Sun god.
Similarly, many pagans throughout history would mark the solstice with branches and leaves from trees as a reminder of the spring to come. The Christmas tree became important even to Romans, who would decorate their temples with fir trees during Saturnalia – a festival in honour of Saturn occurring between the 17th and 23rd of December.
Moreover, these evergreens had noted significance within Christian traditions. Historically, paradise trees were firs decorated with apples and represented the Tree of Knowledge from the Garden of Eden.
The First Christmas Tree
Whilst trees themselves have a rich, historic symbolism, it’s harder to pinpoint the time at which Christmas trees were widely introduced and accepted as part of winter celebrations.
Many people believe the origin to be rooted in the 16th century, where Martin Luther first added candles to an evergreen.
However, it’s also commonly accepted that the first representation of a Christmas evergreen comes from historic Germany, where a private home in Turckheim, Alsace, boasted a keystone sculpture dated to 1576. Even earlier than this, the first Christmas trees themselves are documented to have been used in Eastern Europe – Tallinn (1441) and Riga (1510) to be precise.
What About Ornaments?
It’s true that you can’t have a Xmas tree without baubles, so just where did these fancy decorations come from? Unsurprisingly…Germany again!
The first Christmas baubles were made in the 1840s by local craftsman, Hans Greiner, who lived in Lauscha.
Victorian Christmas Trees
Moving forwards in time to the 19th century (that’s the 1800s), the first Christmas trees appeared in England to the credit of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.
Originally from Germany, Albert implemented a program – with Victoria – in 1848, to send decorated evergreens to barracks and schools around Windsor. What’s more, the couple is famously noted for housing a luxurious Christmas tree at Windsor Castle – and this is well-documented in the Queen’s journal!
Modern Christmas Trees
Nowadays, we know the modern Christmas tree as a staple to our Christmas traditions. From the United States to Europe, and pretty much across the world, this everlasting symbol is a hallmark of any family Christmas.
Many opt for artificial Christmas trees, whilst the more puritan tree fanatics will buy from a tree farm. Though evergreens are commonplace, some people even prefer an oak tree – who’d have thought?
Whatever your preferences this Christmas, whether you’ll opt for real or artificial trees, it’s a given that the humble tree will always remain an important part of Crimbo celebrations.
A new trend on Instagram has seen people repurpose their Christmas tree into a ‘Valentines Tree’ — and we are absolutely here for it.
The trend has become increasingly popular with over 3,600 uploading photos to Instagram using the hashtag #ValentinesTree
So how do you make a Valentines Tree?
There are no hard and fast rules to creating a Valentines Tree, but you will of course need a tree. Simply replace your festive decorations and adorn them with something a little more romantic. Swap the candy canes for candy hearts, reindeer for teddy bears, wreaths for roses, and angels for cupid.
Take a look below for some inspiration!
One of the ways you can easily turn your tree into a Valentines Tree is by removing your Christmas themed decorations and replacing them with hearts. @Aimtobeorganized2017 on Instgram has opted to retain their fairy lights and added some lovely red hearts which have been complemented with smaller silver coloured heart decorations.
@Aimtobeorganized2017 said “My husband didn’t want to take down the Christmas tree so I made it a Valentine’s tree. Normally I don’t even decorate for Valentine’s Day but if 2020 taught me anything…love gets you through the tough times so why not have a love tree for a couple months?”
Make It Pink
White and pink artificial trees lend themselves well to being repurposed for Valentines, so if like @amanda_8619 you’ve got one, simply decorate in a way that captures the Valentines theme. If you don’t have a pink tree you could make some pink garland or ribbon to put around your tree.
Decorate your Valentines Tree using cards from previous Valentines Day’s. Simply find some old Valentines Day cards, or purchase some new ones and add them to your tree using pegs, and voila, you have a Valentines Tree.
Real vs Fake Trees: Which Is Best for the Environment?
Ah, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year, as many recall. When you picture a perfect Christmas, it’s not uncommon to think of gathering around with your family and decorating your tree.
You may be gearing up to buy yourself an artificial tree, or perhaps you’re more a fan of buying a real tree from Christmas tree farms. But did you ever stop to think about the environmental impact?
If you’ve been sat at home with a mug of mulled wine, wondering whether a real or fake tree is more eco-friendly, wonder no more!
We take you through everything you need to know about real versus fake Christmas trees ensuring you can have a holly, jolly, eco-friendly Christmas!
We’ll be breaking down the key issues with each tree so you can make an informed decision this Christmas.
Let’s get to it!
The Christmas Tree Debate
In our eco-conscious modern times, people are more and more concerned about whether real trees are more environmentally-friendly than artificial ones. It’s true, both types have their benefits and drawbacks.
Whether you’re more concerned about the aesthetics and making sure your tree doesn’t clash with your brand new rug, or you’re anxious about the inevitable spill of pine needles, you’ll have been considering this Crimbo conundrum before eco-consciousness was cool.
However, now that environmental impacts are being considered, there’s a lot to think about! Many people consider artificial trees to be more environmentally-friendly than a genuine one, and you’d be forgiven for thinking so.
Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complicated than that!
Did you know that, according to The Carbon Trust, you’d have to use an artificial tree for at least 10 years in order to have the same level of carbon footprint as a real Christmas tree?
If you didn’t – and we don’t blame you – have a read below of our pros and cons of each type of tree. We’ve compiled the most reputable information around to show you some truths you may not have considered!
Whilst artificial pines are certainly less messy than real trees, given that you don’t have stray pine needles clogging up your hoover, they’re not actually as eco-friendly as you’d initially expect.
According to the Carbon Trust, the average artificial Christmas tree is made of PVC plastic. This comes from oil – immediately meaning that these types have a higher level of emitted carbon.
What’s more, you’ll want to consider where your tree ends up after usage. Artificial types are non-recyclable and will end up in a landfill whether you’ve used them for the recommended ten years, or a single year.
Real Christmas Trees
Despite popular belief, a real tree actually is better for the environment.
Most of these pines are purposely planted for the occasion, on purpose-built farms. This means that they’re grown safely and are not ripped out of a forest, as you might imagine.
What’s more, authentic pines are 100% recyclable! They’re also not going to cause any harmful greenhouse gas emissions, meaning all in all the level of carbon dioxide emissions will be much lower.
As always, we know there are numerous factors to consider. Authentic pines look and smell incredible, whilst fake ones are an easy way to cut costs.
However, if you’re truly looking to slash your carbon emissions – go natural (pssst you could even get your Christmas tree delivered by us).
When it came to the highest overall spend Dundee ranked 5th with an average spend of £188,913.
Taking into account the population of Dundee, approximately 150,000 people, the city punched well above its weight with an average spend of £1,274 per thousand — more than four times the national average of £293.
Barnsley Revealed As Lowest Overall Spender and Lowest As Proportion Of Population
Christmas decorations outside Barnsley Town Hall – image source
At the other end of the scale, Barnsley was ranked as the least generous spender for Christmas lights and decorations with an average spend of £6,128 per year.
The South Yorkshire town also ranked the lowest as a proportion of population with a spend of £25 per thousand — more than 10 times lower than the national average.
Top 5 Highest Spending Cities and Towns for Christmas Lights and Decorations
1. Dundee — £1,274 per thousand people.
The city spends an average of £188,913 per year, and is expecting to spend slightly less this Christmas with an estimated budget of £181,000.
2. Glasgow — £663 per thousand people.
Another Scottish city makes it into the top 5 with an average yearly spend of £419,685. Our report also shows that projected figures for this Christmas are likely to be around £343,000.
The East Midlands city spends double the national average of £292 per thousand people and an average of £204,904 per year, projected spend is expected to fall slightly to £200,000 this Christmas.
4. Sutton Coldfield — £565 per thousand people.
The suburban town in Birmingham spends an average of £53,749 per year on festive decorations, and is projected to increase their spending this year to £105,000.
5. Kingston upon Hull — £487 per thousand people.
The city in East Yorkshire spends an average of £126,611 and with an estimated population of 260,000 is one of the top five spenders for Christmas lights, spending 1.5 times more than the national average.
Top 5 Lowest Spending Cities and Towns for Christmas Lights and Decorations
1. Barnsley — £25 per thousand people.
Barnsley was ranked as the least generous spender for Christmas lights and decorations with an average spend of £6,128 per year.
The South Yorkshire town also ranked the lowest as a proportion of population with a spend of £25 per thousand — more than 10 times lower than the national average.
2. Bury — £44 per thousand people.
Second for the lowest spend per thousand was Bury, the market town in Greater Manchester spends an average of £8,337 a year, and is predicted to spend just £7,000 this Christmas.
3. Eastbourne — £76 per thousand people.
The seaside resort spends an average of £7,385 a year, making the town the second lowest overall spender, however the town ranks 3rd lowest when taking its smaller population into account with a spend of £76 per thousand. Which is just under 4 times the national average.
4. St Albans — £78 per thousand people.
The city in Hertfordshire spends an average of £11,505 a year, and with a population of around 150,000 means the city spends just £78 per thousand. However, this year the city is predicting to triple it’s average spend, and has budgeted £34,010 for spending on Christmas lights and decorations.
5. Basingstoke — £81 per thousand people.
Basingstoke has an average spend of £14,168 per year for Christmas lights and decorations, spending £81 per thousand and placing it in 5th place as the least generous spender. The town is budgeted to increase spend marginally this year to £14,800.
We contacted over 100 authorities for cities and towns (excluding London councils) through Freedom of Information requests
We asked them
1) The budget allocated by the council for Christmas decorations (such as lights, baubles, Christmas trees etc) for this year (2020).
2) The figures detailing the amount of money spent on Christmas decorations per year since 2015.
Average spend data for each town and city are based on the average spend for the past five years from 2015 to 2019 made available by each authority via Freedom of Information requests (unless otherwise stated*). In instances where the full data for the five-year period has not been made available, an average of the data and years where data was made available has been calculated.
*Data for Brighton and Canterbury was obtained from their respective business improvement districts (BID).
Population figures for cities and towns are based on the 2018 and Mid 2019 population estimates by the Office for National Statistics (unless otherwise stated).
Link to the full data and sources can be found here.